For a nation has come up against My land,
Strong, and without number;
His teeth are the teeth of a lion,
And he has the fangs of a fierce lion. Joel 1:6 NKJV
Let’s look at the context for the book of Joel and today’s verse. Joel was one of the twelve minor prophets in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t tell us anything more about him other than his father’s name, Pethuel. Sometimes the Bible gives the reader enormous detail about certain things and other times, it does not. If the Bible repeats something many times, it’s important and the reader should note it.
The first five verses of chapter one of Joel was describing a time in the southern kingdom of Juda where there were locusts devastating the land. He wasn’t announcing the coming judgment of the land but was describing their present state with locusts swarming, then crawling, then consuming. It was so destructive and massive Joel tells the people to tell their children and their children’s children.
Today’s verse is also about how this pestilence came across the nation and devoured everything in its path.
This wasn’t the only instance in Israel’s history where there were swarms of locusts. In the book of Exodus, we see swarms of locusts when Pharoah would not let the people of Israel leave Egypt. In 1915 a devastating plague of locusts covered what is modern-day Israel and Syria. The first swarms came in March, in clouds so thick they blocked out the sun. The female locusts immediately began to lay eggs, 100 at a time. Witnesses say that in one square yard, there were 65,000 to 75,000 eggs. In a few weeks, they hatched, and the young locusts resembled large ants. They couldn’t fly yet and got along by hopping. They marched along 400 to 600 feet a day, devouring every speck of vegetation along the way. After two more stages of molting, they became adults who could fly—and the devastation continued. And we will see, this same devastation in the time of tribulation in the book of Revelation which mirrors the time of Exodus.
The middle east is not the only place where locust devastation has occurred. The U.S. had its own devastation back in the 1870s. Here is a link to a great article on U.S. devastation: 1870s Great Plains Locust Devastation. Just this year, we see this same devastation in Sardinia and in Africa.